The American lobster, Homarus americanus, is one of the most well studied marine invertebrates in the world, as well as the basis of one of the most valuable fisheries in New England. Yet, despite the intense interest in this species, we still know little about its normal behavior in its natural habitat. This lack of knowledge is primarily due to our inability to conduct long-term observations in an aquatic environment.
In the summer of 2002 we created a large in situ mesocosm near the UNH Coastal Marine Laboratory (CML), within which we can continuously track the movements of up to 5 lobsters at a time, while simultaneously collecting time-lapse video recordings of lobsters in the same area. We are using these new technologies to address several unresolved questions concerning the behavior of lobsters in theirnatural habitat. In particular, we are investigating lobster territorial, mating and homing behaviors, as well as some of the environmental factors that influence their daily foraging activities.
Many thanks to the lobstermen who helped us in the summers of 2002 to 2004, by not fishing traps within the study site! Many thanks to the NMFS for allowing us to use their facilities for our base station.